Spot The Deer

On a dull afternoon which only brightened up on our way home, Jackie took us on a driveabout to the North of the forest and back.

Riders and cyclists

Riders and pedestrians

It being possibly the first weekend of the holiday season, pedestrians, cyclists and riders, like these on the outskirts of Brockenhurst, sometimes holding up proceedings, abounded.

Among the prizes © Norman Thelwell. National Trust hosts Norman Thelwell exhibition of original illustrations from private family archives. Mottisfont welcomes in the New Year with a major exhibition from the private family archives of one of Britainís most popular cartoonists, Norman Thelwell. Best known for his hilarious cartoons of plump little girls on equally spherical ponies, these familiar pictures are joined by other satires of twentieth-century life, alongside beautiful paintings of local landscapes. The exhibition, which features over 70 original artworks, includes many that have never been on show before. First created in the 1950s and published extensively since, Thelwellís pony cartoons are still easily recognisable today. The artist drew the endearing characters Penelope and her mischievous pony Kipper in hundreds of humorous scenarios, from ungainly jumps and gallops to the destruction of country fairs. Thelwell also produced numerous other satirical cartoons, with astute and amusing observations on country life, from gardening and fishing to the upkeep of heritage properties. While these images have given Thelwell a lasting reputation as a talented cartoonist, he is less well known for his beautiful landscape art. Thelwell lived close to Mottisfont ñ an idyllic country house in Hampshire, now owned by the National Trust ñ and captured the surrounding countryside in a series of stunning watercolours.Mottisfontís exhibition reveals many of these pictures, including images of Mottisfont itself, Romsey Abbey, and the landscape and villages of the Test Valley, brought to life by an extraordinary talent for naturalistic painting. Displayed alongside Thelwellís well-loved cartoons, the exhibition demonstrates how the artistís amusing observations on life in the country are rooted in a deep-seated love of the Hampshire landscape. Also on display are a series of never-before-seen sketches and a selection of models which the artist created as protot

It was the red coated little girl on the Thelwell pony, visible as the group turned left off the road, who caught our eye and had me leaping out of the car. Thanks to for the image.

Waterlogged drive

Beyond the 30 mph sign to the right of the first picture, can be seen the start of a waterlogged drive,

Waterlogged verge

whilst the verge on the left bears typical pools of recent rainwater.

Ponies 1

Pony and cyclistPonies 2Pony 1Ponies 2

Ponies, ignoring the passing traffic, continued their task of mowing the grass, which is more than I could do at home today, because it was too wet.

Gorse over pool

Apart from the cyclist’s outfit, the fresh yellow gorse was the brightest aspect of this particular soggy stretch.

Donkeys 1Donkeys 2Donkeys 3

At Ibsley, a string of sedate donkeys exercised their right of way among the traffic,

Cow and calf

whilst, further on at Hyde cows had the intelligence to teach their calves road sense by taking a detour around us. As you can see, there is one behind us.

Deer in forest

Readers may discern a camouflaged deer in this shot. It’s there, honest.

Unfortunately I pressed Publish before adding our meal and the tags. This should put that right. We enjoyed beef burgers, fried onions, chips, and baked beans for our dinner, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2012.